Aquatic Invasive Species

Zebra mussel (left) and quagga mussel (right). These adult invasive mussels are tiny, but their impact to lake ecosystems is huge.

Zebra mussel (left) and quagga mussel (right). These adult invasive mussels are tiny, but their impact to lake ecosystems is huge.

Swan, Holland, and Lindbergh Lakes, as well as numerous smaller lakes, are the jewels of the Swan Valley.  Along with the Swan River which connects them all, these lakes provide broad economic, social, ecological and recreational values. Protecting these gems is a high priority for Swan Valley Connections.  

Invasive mussels and aquatic weeds would be a disaster for our extremely high-quality lakes.  Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are knocking on our door, but dedicated organizations, from the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service to the State of Montana and the Flathead Basin Commission, are stepping up to ensure we prevent invasion by AIS.  

Swan Valley Connections has made it a priority to help in the fight against invasive mussels. We are working on public education and monitoring of our lakes.  Throughout the summer and fall of 2017, SVC is gathering water samples from Swan, Holland, Lindbergh and Van lakes to be tested for invasive mussels and plants.  

The water samples are inspected in multiple ways:  at a Fish, Wildlife and Parks lab which looks for the larval mussels, and at a University of Montana lab which scans the samples for microscopic bits of genetic material from mussels and plants.

AIS_3.jpg

Check out Montana’s  Mussel Response office for updates and reports on prevention efforts around the state.

It takes a team of people to keep our waters pristine.  Following are some of our partners and local organizations working on the AIS issue.

Our amazing neighbors, the Swan Lakers, have created an inspection system at the Swan Lake boat launch staffed entirely by volunteers from their organization.  

The Flathead Basin Commission works full time to protect water quality in our region. Their AIS prevention efforts continue to be critical in protecting Flathead Lake and the surrounding area. You can read more about their work here.

Eurasian Water Milfoil

Eurasian Water Milfoil


IMAGES: Zebra mussel - Dave Brenner, Michigan Sea Grant;
Quagga mussels on ABS - Caitlin Mitchell; Eurasian Water Milfoil - Lake George Association